ABP Connect was selected to operate the facility following the receipt of several bids by Powergen, owner of the freehold of the facility. The facility is within the strategically located 400-acre Hams Hall Distribution site east of Birmingham. The focus of our strategy at ABP, which owns and operates 21 ports around the country, is on growing the ports business through securing customer contracts. ABP Connect which we launched in April 2001 has a complementary strategy of growing our business by offering distribution, storage, and shipping-related and other value-added services.
ABP Connect s securing the Hams Hall operation is very much in line with this strategy. The purchase of the business at Hams Hall represents a significant step forward by ABP Connect in our strategy to grow a logistics network in the UK. By linking with our ports, 13 of which are rail connected, this facility will enhance the range of services we can offer customers, by extending the ports hinterland and giving access to one of the largest conurbations in the country.
In developing the business at Hams Hall, we will focus on port-related, domestic and Channel Tunnel traffics, working actively with customers and other stakeholders to promote the advantages of the movement of goods by rail. The Strategic Rail Authority (SRA), which provides strategic direction for Britain s railways, welcomed Powergen s decision to award the 20-year lease to ABP. I very much welcome the commitment which ABP is making, which supports our objective of growing UK rail freight by 80 per cent over the next 10 years.
Powergen is pleased to have been able to assist Parsec and ABP Connect conclude the transfer of the Parsec business. I look forward to working with ABP Connect to bring forward further terminal investment to increase capacity and ensure that Hams Hall remains the pre-eminent manufacturing and distribution location in the Midlands. We hope that our efforts to extend the Hams Hall development, building inspection by bringing forward an additional 40 acres of Brownfield land, will add to the financial viability and security of the terminal operation.
ABP Grimsby & Immingham, which is the UK s number-one port in tonnage terms, also won the Gold Award in 1998 and 2000. Jim Lee, Head of Safety, ABP Grimsby & Immingham, will collect the award at a ceremony being held at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole Hotel, National Exhibition Centre, on Thursday, 16 May, during Safety & Health Expo 2002, the UK s premier occupational health and safety exhibition.